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James Earl Carter Jr was born October 1 1924 in Plains Georgia Peanut farming talk of politics and devotion to the Baptist faith were mainstays of his upbringing Upon graduation in 1946 from the Naval Academy in Annapolis Maryland Carter married Rosalynn Smith The Carters have three sons John William Jack James Earl III Chip Donnel Jeffrey Jeff and a daughter Amy Lynn After seven years service as a naval officer Carter returned to Plains In 1962 he entered state politics and eight years later he was elected Governor of Georgia Among the new young southern governors he attracted attention by emphasizing ecology efficiency in government and the removal of racial barriers When he began his national campaign Carter was not as well known as several other candidates including some members of Congress From the first however Carter demonstrated his ability to win votes He entered 26 of 27 preferential primaries and finished first in 17 of them He won 19 of 31 primaries in all Carter was strong both in traditionally conservative and in liberal states He ran well in industrial states as well as farm states Carter outpolled every other Democratic candidate in all sections of the country except the Far West By the time the primaries had ended most of his rivals had withdrawn some pledging their support to Carter He also began to receive endorsements from other prominent Democrats At the Democratic convention in New York City in July 1976 Carter received the nomination on the first ballot As his vice-presidential running mate he chose Walter F Mondale a United States senator from Minnesota and a leader of the liberal bloc in Congress Many Democratic leaders joined the Carter family at the rostrum emphasizing party unity In public opinion polls taken at the time of his nomination Carter led President Ford by 30 percentage points
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